Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fabian Society Debrief

The Australian Fabian Society forum this Wednesday was, as always, thought provoking, deliberative, smattered with a few nutters, but well worth attending. It was quite astounding to hear John Singleton describing immigration detention centres as `concentration camps' and raging on like a real leftie. His message was painted (and dismissed) in the media as a bleeding obvious `Kim Beazley should stop waffling', but it was more complex than that. Singleton came across as a pretty cluey character - it shouldn't be a surprise, of course. But I really had to remind myself `Wait a minute. Let's not forget this is the bloke who owns 2GB. Yet this in itself is important. He's someone whose job it is to correctly judge the public mood.

Singleton's main message was that people will latch on to the Labor Party if they knew exactly what the Labor Party were saying. Julie Owens, the impressively energetic Member for Parramatta who toppled the odious Ross `Quality Box' Cameron in the 2004 election, argued that Labor does have different positions on, for example, refugees and the war in Iraq. All very well, argued Singo. Does average Joe know this? No he does not. This is the problem the party must surmount - and this is a much wider problem than simply `Beazley waffles'. I came away with the feeling that too much is made of the leadership issue. I'd be lying if I said `Beazley's the best leader the ALP could have right now', but I think concentrating on a cohesive message and strong policies, as well as strong personal leadership and greater sense of unity from all aspects of the party - from State Premiers to Federal frontbenchers - may be more important in the long run.

One thing that was interesting from my point of view was the high media presence - ABC's AM were there and, friends, Karen Barlow even Vox Popped your humble Minotaur, would you believe! It provided quite an interesting insight into the workings of the mainstream media. Clearly, they went in with an agenda. They fondly hoped that the evening would be the latest in a continuum - first the Latham Diaries, then Barry Jones, then John Faulkner - to cut a long story short, they wanted a Labor bloodbath.

My family and I popped out early. The ABC rushed towards us, microphones aloft. `Why are you walking out early? There was a LOT of anger in the room, wasn't there?' (you angry, disgruntled, dis-GUSTED Labor voters, you - the implication was). My father leaned over and said, very seriously, `Our parking meter was about to run out.' So much for spin ... I then gave a nice eloquent speech about regeneration and suchlike. Did this make it onto AM? No it did not. Thankyou and goodnight.

You can read (and hear) the results here. Alam Ramsay also puts in his two cents worth in today's SMH, while Liam also has his say on


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